The NWMO's milestones in Indigenous relations
On July 18, 2018 the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) released a reconciliation statement that acknowledged historical wrongs in Canada's past, and the need to create a better future through collaboration and discussions with Indigenous communities. Over the years, the NWMO has taken steps toward this day. Here is a timeline of key moments leading up to the NWMO's reconciliation statement:
2002: The NWMO created by legislation – the Nuclear Fuel Waste Act
2002: Indigenous representation appointed to the NWMO Advisory Council
2002-2005: Dialogue with Indigenous groups reveals importance of interweaving traditional knowledge into the NWMO’s work and of the NWMO receiving advice from Indigenous Elders
2003: First workshop on traditional knowledge held in Saskatoon, Sask.
2005: The NWMO established the Elders Forum – an independent advisory body made up of Indigenous Elders to advise on interweaving Indigenous Knowledge and establishing meaningful relationships with Indigenous communities
2007: Indigenous representation appointed to the NWMO Board of Directors
2009: The NWMO launches Aboriginal Policy to guide meaningful collaboration with Indigenous peoples
2012: Elders Forum restructured and renamed as Council of Elders
2013: Council of Elders decides to add youth perspective to Council
2013: The NWMO states that the project will only proceed with the involvement of the interested community, First Nation and Métis communities in the area, and surrounding communities
2014: Cultural awareness training made mandatory for contractors working on the NWMO’s behalf
2015: Federal government makes promise to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)
2015: Truth and Reconciliation Commission releases its final report, including 92 calls to action
2016: Indigenous representation appointed to the NWMO Executive Committee
2016: Canada officially removed its objector status to the UNDRIP
2016: The NWMO becomes one of first organizations in North America to establish an Indigenous Knowledge Policy
2016: The Council of Elders and Youth issues the Declaration of the Keepers of the Land
2017: Successful conclusion of consultation with six First Nation and Métis communities on drilling the NWMO’s first borehole
2018: 85 per cent of NWMO staff received cultural awareness training
2018: Reconciliation Statement finalized through Indigenous ceremony
The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is a not-for-profit organization tasked with the safe, long-term management of Canada’s used nuclear fuel inside a deep geological repository, in a manner that protects people and the environment for generations to come.
Founded in 2002, the NWMO has been guided for more than 20 years by a dedicated team of world-class scientists, engineers and Indigenous Knowledge Holders that are developing innovative and collaborative solutions for nuclear waste management. Canada’s plan will only proceed in an area with informed and willing hosts, where the municipality, First Nation and Métis communities, and others in the area are working together to implement it. The NWMO plans to select a site in 2024, and two areas remain in our site selection process: the Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation-Ignace area in northwestern Ontario and the Saugeen Ojibway Nation-South Bruce area in southern Ontario.